Having been invited to take part in Euroscola in October 2017, we never dreamed that we would have another opportunity to assume the role of MEP for the day in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. At the beginning of this school year we applied for places to attend the European Youth Event 2018. The EYE 2018 took place on 1st-2nd June 2018 in the European Parliament's seat in Strasbourg. This is an event initiated and hosted by the European Parliament since 2014 with the aim of stimulating active citizenship amongst young Europeans. It is a unique opportunity for young Europeans to make their voices heard. During EYE 2018 young people came up with ideas for the future of Europe which they discussed with European decision makers such as EP President Antonio Tajani and Vice-President, Irish MEP Mairead McGuinness. More than 8,000 young people from all over Europe attended the event and we were lucky enough to be offered places to attend EYE 2018 and also to represent Ireland at a special EYE Euroscola. We formed part of a delegation of European Parliament Ambassador Schools made up of The King’s Hospital, Mercy Beaumont and Adamstown CC.
We left school in the very early hours of Thursday morning and flew to Frankfurt then took an adventure down through Europe with Flixbus to reach Strasbourg. On Thursday night we ate out in town and went on a walking tour of the city, getting to see the beautiful medieval area of La Petite France. Strasbourg was hit by a really violent storm late on Thursday evening and we were in the middle of it - you could have wrung us out when we got back to the hotel! On Friday we were at the Parliament by 10am ready for a day of workshops and activities run under the motto “The plan is to fan this spark into a flame.” (Hamilton, My Shot). The activities centred around five main themes: young and old - keeping up with the digital revolution; rich and poor - calling for a fair share; apart and together - working out for a stronger Europe; safe and dangerous - staying alive in turbulent times and local and global - protecting our planet. After a long day at the Parliament, we headed home and sampled the local cuisine...in Pizza Hut! When in Rome, etc.! Saturday was a big day for us - Euroscola Day. We arrived at the Parliament at 7:30am and were sent off for breakfast in our groups. At around 9am we were brought into the Hemicycle. It takes your breath away the first time you see it. It is such a special moment. We were seated in our topic groups so we were split up from each other for the day. Oscar had been chosen to present the Irish delegation to the chamber and he did a wonderful job - all in German! The presentations were followed by an open floor debate with a panel of EU officials where a huge range of topics came up for discussion, notably topics that directly affect young Europeans such as employment, freedom of movement, study opportunities etc. The rest of the day was spent in our topic groups preparing our resolutions for the afternoon plenary session. In the plenary session, proposals were presented by a spokesperson for each group and the rapporteur then had the difficult task of defending the proposal in the face of questions from the floor. At the end of each debate, resolutions were voted on by the members and we got a really fantastic insight into how the voting procedure in the Parliament works. This helped to make the European democratic process real for us and also to underline how important it is that we get involved in this process by using our vote. Euroscola concluded with a flag ceremony and we finished off our trip with a big dinner for all three schools before going our separate ways back to Dublin. On our final day, Sunday, we stopped off in Frankfurt on our way back to the airport and so managed to take in three European countries - France, Germany and Ireland - in one day! We are so grateful to Anne McEvoy-Smyth and her team in the European Parliament Representation Office in Dublin for this incredible opportunity. It was unforgettable.
Viki Malcolm - Language Teacher & European Studies Coordinator
Students: Oscar Blood, Tanesha Yimga, Lizzie Connor, Malika Maniar, Ingrid Duggan